• LPEA celebrates local solar PV installations, close of successful program


    Effort with GEO brought more than $750,000 in rebate funds to service territory

    DURANGO, Colo. – La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) members took advantage of rebates offered in 2010-2011 by the Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) through “Recharge Colorado,” installing 170 solar photovoltaic (PV) systems within LPEA’s service territory. The local total is 14 percent of the entire statewide solar PV rebate program.

    “It’s fantastic that La Plata and Archuleta counties represented that large of a percentage in the GEO’s entire statewide program,” said Sue Maxwell, LPEA project specialist who worked with the GEO to facilitate rebates for members. “In addition to adding to the amount of local renewable generation, the GEO rebate checks for PV amounted to $766,188 worth of federal stimulus money brought into our local economy.”

    The Governor’s Energy Office rebate program was launched in April 2010 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and ended Dec. 30, 2011. According to the GEO, 1,204 Colorado residents and businesses installed renewable energy technologies during that time period.

    Working with the GEO was in addition to LPEA’s on-going support of local renewable generation. LPEA has distributed more than $1 million directly to local renewable generation system owners through rebates and REC (Renewable Energy Credits) payments.

    To-date, 330 net metered, renewable generation systems are installed and interconnected (connected to the grid) within LPEA’s service territory. Combined, these systems have a capacity of 1,567 kilowatts, or approximately 1.6 megawatts of electrical production.

    According to Mark Schwantes, LPEA manager of corporate services, going forward in 2012, LPEA’s strategic focus and goals mandate that the cooperative continue its support of local renewable generation with a streamlined interconnection process, as well as dynamic and supportive board of director policies and programs.

    “It was great that the financial support from LPEA available for our members could be leveraged with the dollars coming in from Denver,” said Schwantes, noting that while the GEO funding was available (approximately 20 months) it was very popular with local solar installers and LPEA’s membership. “We don’t know if there will be any additional funding from the GEO, but those members who were able to participate in the inaugural program will see a more timely return on their investment of renewable generation. We were happy to be a part.”

    The GEO is seeking feedback on the recently closed program and welcomes emails at rebates@state.co.us.

    LPEA, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative established in 1939, provides to its more than 30,000 members, with in excess of 42,000 meters, safe, reliable electricity at the lowest reasonable cost, while being environmentally responsible. For additional information, contact LPEA at 970.247.5786 or visit www.lpea.coop.

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